Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ways to Lose 5 Pounds a Month

Losing 5 pounds a month is a realistic, healthy weight-loss goal, especially if you’ll be exercising daily. A daily exercise program for weight loss doesn’t have to be a grueling regimen. Choosing workout activities you enjoy and avoiding high-impact exercises can make a daily workout less stressful than semi-regular fitness routines.
Calorie Target
To lose 5 pounds per month, you’ll need to burn roughly 580 calories per day more than you eat. You can do this using a combination of calorie cutting and exercise. To give you some perspective, 2 cups of milk contain 320 calories. Performing 60 minutes of low-impact aerobics will burn 365 calories in a 160-pound person, according to Download a copy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” or use an online calorie tool, such as the one at LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate to find your starting calorie number. Subtract the number of calories you’ll reduce in your diet, or the number of calories you’ll burn through exercise each day to help plan your daily menus and exercise.
Exercise Intensity
The key to burning the most calories each day is to find a pace you can maintain without stopping after a few minutes. This can be as low-intensity as a brisk walk or as high-intensity as running on a treadmill. Using heavy weights or high-impact activities such as jumping rope may fatigue you quickly. Spending 30 minutes on an exercise bike while you watch TV, going out for an hour walk after dinner, putting on your iPod and dancing or performing a variety of calisthenics let you raise your heart rate to a pace you can maintain for the duration of your workout.
Workout Options
If you plan on exercising at a gym, vary the machines you use so you can work more muscles and prevent repetitive stress on any one joint. Warm up on a treadmill, move to a rowing or weight machine, get on an elliptical and finish with 5-pound or 10-pound dumbbells to give yourself a full-body workout with cardio and resistance.
If you plan to work out in your home, perform calisthenics, working hard for one or two minutes, then taking a short break before you start another one- or two-minute exercise. Taking frequent, short breaks during circuit training is an acceptable alternative to a nonstop, steady cardio workout at a more moderate pace. Exercise can include pushups, situps, chair dips, squats, lunges, calf raises, crunches, jumping jacks, butt kicks, skipping rope, jogging in place and stairs.
Workout Format
Working out every day can lead to stiffness and soreness if you don’t create a proper workout format. Start each workout with five minutes of moderately intense movements to warm your muscles and gradually raise your heart rate before you begin intense exercises. Perform your workout, then slow down at the end. Cooling down with less-intense movements for five minutes, such as walking and swinging your arms, helps excess blood and lactic acid leave your muscles, reducing muscle pain later. Ending with a thorough stretch will also help reduce stiff, sore muscles.

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